The Church of the Mermaid Madonna is the jewel of Skala Sikamineas.
The small, sturdy structure is built into a rocky outcroping facing the sea.
It can be seen from almost anywhere in the village and by approaching vessels.

There is no sign of a Mermaid Madonna in the Church of the Mermaid Madonna.
In fact no such icon exists in all of Christendom, a Madonna with a fish tail floating above the sea. The image was popularized by the writings of Skala’s renowned novelist, Stratis Myrivilis in his book The Mermaid Madonna, published in 1949.

The novel tells the story of the Greek refugees who arrived in Skala Sikamineas in 1922,
in desperate flight from the purge of the Ottoman Empire, and their settlement on the island of Lesvos.
In the novel an itinerant sailor secretly paints the image on the chapel wall and disappears. The Mermaid Madonna becomes the villagers’ patron saint, the guardian of
sailors and fishermen.

In my mind her image also symbolizes a beacon of the hope of protection for anyone crossing the perilous straits between Turkey and Lesvos today.

Review and description of the novel The Mermaid Madonna by Stratis Myrivilis, 1949.